The Media Gateway Control Protocol (MGCP) is a signaling and call control communications protocol used in voice over IP (VoIP) telecommunication systems. It implements the media gateway control protocol architecture for controlling media gateways on Internet Protocol (IP) networks connected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
The protocol is a successor to the Simple Gateway Control Protocol (SGCP), which was developed by Bellcore and Cisco, and the Internet Protocol Device Control (IPDC).
The methodology of MGCP reflects the structure of the PSTN with the power of the network residing in a call control center softswitch which is analogous to the central office in the telephone network.
The endpoints are low-intelligence devices, mostly executing control commands from a call agent or media gateway controller in the softswitch and providing result indications in response. The protocol represents a decomposition of other VoIP models, such as H.323 and the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), in which the endpoint devices of a call have higher levels of signaling intelligence.
MGCP is a text-based protocol consisting of commands and responses. It uses the Session Description Protocol (SDP) for specifying and negotiating the media streams to be transmitted in a call session and the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) for framing the media streams.